Apple has projected yet another record holiday for sales, but this should come as no surprise to fellow ‘Macheads’. I myself, am a huge fan of Apple and have been for a quite some time; I still have my iBook, and it still works! My desk is home to an iMac, Macbook, and many other small Apple devices. The one thing that most people believe is that there is no need to worry about security for their beloved Apple devices, which is a bit over inflated. So here are a Full this holiday season.
Top Ten tips for OS X security
- Create a standard account (non-admin) for everyday use– Log into the standard account for your everyday activities, and to store your personal information. Whenever an administrator’s password is required, type the admin username, and the appropriate password. This will lead to more password requests than if you were working under an admin account. However these requests should make you think whether you should be entering your password.
- Set Gatekeeper to allow Mac App Store and identified developers– Gatekeeper resides under Preferences>Security & Privacy and its main function is to allow the user to control which apps can be run without further escalation and or attention. If you download an application that doesn’t meet the criteria you will not be able to run it.
- Stay current with OS X updates– Mac OS X has a built-in software update tool “Software Update”. It’s a good idea to run “Software Update” frequently and install updates when available.
- Disable automatic login– Automatic login means that anyone who can access your Mac only needs to start it up to have access to all of your files.
- Use the built in Firewall– The firewall can be tuned to your needs whether it be at home, work or travel.
- Use a password manager to help prevent phishing attacks– It’s important to create complex, unique passwords, however for most of us, the more complicated the password the easier it is for us to forget it.
- Use Mac FileVault for full-disk encryption– FileVault encrypts your entire hard drive using a secure encryption algorithm (XTS-AES 128). You should enable this feature on your Mac because if your hard drive isn’t encrypted, anyone who manages to steal your computer can access any data on it.
- Use a Mac anti-virus (WSA)– Let’s face it, Mac malware is real and only getting worse.
- Enable iCloud Mac locator and remote wipe– If your system is ever stolen you can log into iCloud.com or use the Find My iPhone app on an iOS device to locate your device, send it a command to lock it, have it issue a sound, or remotely wipe the device.
- Use “Secure Empty Trash” to remove data– By default files are simply marked for deletion and not really deleted making file recovery simple. Using Secure Empty Trash things get much more difficult to recover.
Tips to secure your iOS
- Enable Passcode Lock. This is one of the key security tips, The stronger the passcode the better. Apple has incorporated a fingerprint scanner in the newer iPhone models which allows users to use their fingerprints for authentication when unlocking their device and making purchases.
- Erase all data before selling, trading in, or sending off for repair.
- Update. By keeping your apps and operating system up-to-date, you will strengthen the security of your device. You can turn on the automatic downloads feature which will update apps in the background and without the need for you to do anything.
- Don’t Jailbreak. Sure, some of the Jailbreak tweaks are cool and can do some fun things but is the lack of security really worth it?
- Enable Safari security settings. These settings include blocking pop-ups, disabling autofill, fraud warnings, and the ability to clear cookies/history/cache. Alternatively, you can download Webroot’s secure web browser for iOS.
- Disabling Bluetooth/WiFi. There are several freeware tools designed to sniff for Bluetooth and WiFi signals then gather information from open devices. It is also best to not use public WiFi; you don’t really know what the guy sitting at the other table in Starbucks is doing on his computer.
- Find my iPhone. This should go without saying, this feature not only helps you find a lost or stolen phone, but it also makes wiping the phone a little harder. I had an iphone stolen and find my iPhone found it five months later… in Canada… someone sold it on ebay.
- Disable Siri on Lock screen. Siri is a great tool and assest but she can also talk to much, this will keep her quite until the correct person is able to unlock the device.
- Set up a VPN. A Virtual Private Network is a must-have and can bring extra security to anyone who uses their devices on different wireless networks. Some VPN services are free of charge, but some can cost several dollars a week which is more than a fair price for protecting your information.
- Turn on two-step verification for Apple ID and iCloud – a great way to prevent issues without someone knowing both the password and the 4-digit verification code.